Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial looking at VEPEMB chemotherapy for patients over 60 years old with Hodgkin lymphoma (SHIELD study)
One of the most common treatments for Hodgkin lymphoma is a combination of chemotherapy called ABVD. This is doxorubicin (Adriamycin), bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine. Because the treatment is very intensive, the side effects can be quite bad. Older people often need to have lower doses of drugs, or sometimes aren’t well enough to have this treatment at all.
Doctors hoped a new combination of drugs called VEPEMB would be as good as ABVD but cause fewer side effects. VEPEMB is a combination of the chemotherapy drugs vinblastine, cyclophosphamide, procarbazine, etoposide, mitoxantrone and bleomycin, and the steroid prednisolone. They hoped it would be better than ABVD for people over 60 years old.
The aims of this trial were to find out
- More about the side effects of VEPEMB
- How good VEPEMB was for people over 60 years old with Hodgkin lymphoma
Summary of results
The trial team found that VEPEMB was a satisfactory treatment for people over 60 years old with Hodgkin lymphoma.
In total 175 people were registered into the SHIELD study
- 103 were well enough to have VEPEMB
- 72 were not
Of the 103 people who had VEPEMB
- 31 had early stage lymphoma
- 72 had advanced stage lymphoma
For those who had early stage lymphoma, after treatment there was no sign of disease in 74 out of every 100 people (74%). This called a
After an average follow up of 3 years in those who had early stage lymphoma
- 81 out of every 100 people (81%) were still alive
- The lymphoma had not come back in 74 out of every 100 people (74%)
For those who had advanced stage lymphoma
- 66 out of every 100 people (66%) were still alive
- The lymphoma had not come back in 58 out of every 100 people (58%)
The most common side effect was a drop in blood cells.
The trial team concluded that people over 60 years old with Hodgkin lymphoma could be treated with VEPEMB.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Prof Stephen Proctor
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Marrow & Stem Cell Transplant 2000
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
SHIELD Study Group
The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKE/03/020.